January 06, 2017

#CozyBear, #FancyBear, #GrizzlySteppe; natsec hashtag nuttery against Russia (and Wikileaks)

First, it's "interesting" that President Barack Obama's new sanctions against Russia were launched oh, about an hour after a new cease-fire in Syria was announced — a cease-fire mediated by Russia and Turkey alone, not the US, which was deliberately cut out.

I find it more interesting that, reading between the lines, a Russian spy house an hour or so away from the White House suddenly and massively hit a new level of spookery after the Russkies have been there for 44 years.  A WaPost piece on Friday, while describing the history of both now-closed sites, says nothing about the idea that spy level ramped up in the last couple of years. And, in fact, a Saturday NBC piece says the two sites had no special intelligence capabilities beyond other Russian sites. Obama is closing them because he wants to hurt the Russian cushiness factor.

It's also funny that Russian President Vladimir Putin punked Obama by not retaliating in kind.

Second, that they're little more than a list of protections needed against malware, or otherwise, a group of vague warnings pinnable to nothing.

In light of that, one should read Jeffery Carr calling other work by national security consultant CrowdStrike "a work of fiction." (And, stand by for his details on that.)

Or, let's go back six months, to when the natsec establishment was throwing #IBlamePutin bullshit at the wall to first see if it might stick.

Here's Carr then:

As Mark Twain said, good judgment comes from experience, and experience comes from bad judgment. The problem with judgment calls and attribution is that since there’s no way to be proven right or wrong, there’s no way to discern if one’s judgment call is good or bad.
The metadata in the leaked documents are perhaps most revealing: one dumped document was modified using Russian language settings, by a user named “(Felix Dzerzhinsky),” a code name referring to the founder of the Soviet Secret Police
OK. Raise your hand if you think that a GRU or FSB officer would add Iron Felix’s name to the metadata of a stolen document before he released it to the world while pretending to be a Romanian hacker. Someone clearly had a wicked sense of humor.
That, in turn, the Carr piece, is referenced by a brand-new longform at Harper's, from Andrew Cockburn, one of the better pieces out there about the rise of a new McCarthyism.

Third, per CrowdStrike, et al, c'mon, folks!

#FollowTheMoney, if you want another hashtag. Carr also addresses this issue. (He also seems to reference people who think Robert M. Lee knows a lot more shite than him.) I can't believe that people out there are smart enough to not think about this — people who are generally smart, and not normally apologists for the natsec spinoff of the military-industrial complex. But, I guess I need to start believing.

Fourth, as I've said before, Hillary Clinton was not hated to death by Vladimir Putin. Google "Frank Giustra" plus "uranium" plus "Clinton Foundation" if you don't believe me. In fact, this NYT piece should be your top Google hit.

Fifth, and related, just because Trump is allegedly a sucker for flattery doesn't make him "controllable," even if all the allegations are totally true. It just makes him an unstable, mercurial, sucker for flattery with the flattery's effect being short-term only, because of that.

Putin might well value the stability and experience of a Hillary Clinton over that.

But, she's a warhawk!

And, Putin might use that as flypaper, if she had been elected and really had tried to put a no-fly zone over Syria into effect. Even more so now that Turkey and Russia are current BFEs.

Sixth, but Julian Assange is a Russian agent, right?

Well, first, let's set aside the MSM's repeated attempts to smear him, including the Guardian, one of his earlier collaborators.

Is it possible that, in some areas, Assange has been a kind of a fellow traveler? Yes. (And Glenn Greenwald should be more suspicious of that.) That doesn't make him a Russian agent, or even an implacable foe of US interests. After all, Wikileaks' dump of Syria leaks was largely anti-Bashar Assad, just like the US government is.

Seventh, speaking of, the natsec eggs and their MSM mouthpieces have been dead wrong about Russia before, in this case, specifically, Russia and Syria.

Eighth, speaking of MSM mouthpieces, one, the Washington Post, or at least its owner, has a $600 million conflict of interest vis-a-vis the CIA.

Summary: As of right now, this is a thin, runny stream of crap held between sheets of one-ply toilet paper. Click those links, purge your brain of what the MSM and the government has been feeding you, and you might learn some new stuff.


Update, Jan. 6: The new, allegedly more thorough, national security report is now out. Highlights, or lowlights, at a glance include —

So, "press reporting" is a CIA/FBI/NSA analytics source, re Guccifer? (page 12) Vladimir Zhirinovskiy is a credible source? (page 14) Yes, Schröder and Berlusconi (11) may have had business reasons to be Putin-friendly, like Trump allegedly did. So did Clinton. Again, folks, Google "Frank Giustra" plus "Clinton Foundation" plus uranium. Even while mentioning Russia Today's negative coverage of the Clinton Foundation (14), the NYT piece on the above isn't mentioned. As for RT mentioning (16 ff) that current US political structures don't represent many Americans? It's true! Finally, half of this 25-page report (hey, better than the 13 pages 10 days ago, right?) is focused on RT.

Update 2, Jan. 12: Masha Gessen also weighs in on the nuttery. From what's arguably the nut graf, at the end:
(T)he intelligence report does nothing to clarify the abnormalities of Trump’s campaign and election. Instead, it risks perpetuating the fallacy that Trump is some sort of a foreign agent rather than a home-grown demagogue, while doing further damage to our faith in the electoral system. It also suggests that the US intelligence agencies’ Russia expertise is weak and throws into question their ability to process and present information.
Bingo. Whether deliberately or not, our intelligence "establishment" looks more idiotic by the day. Of course, that's because it IS.

Update 3, March 7: Yasha Levine has got a must-read at the Baffler on what's behind Cozy Bear, et al, from last year's Russian snooping and hacking.
Update 4, March 8: Per Reuters, Wikileaks new Vault7 release about CIA device hacking has implications beyond the obvious.
Stuart McClure, CEO of Cylance, an Irvine, California, cyber security firm, said that one of the most significant disclosures shows how CIA hackers cover their tracks by leaving electronic trails suggesting they are from Russia, China and Iran rather than the United States.
This is directly relevant to Cozy Bear, Fancy Bear, Schmaltzy Bear, etc. Yes, those attacks MAY well be by Russian intelligence services. (If so, whether they were deliberate on the DNC at first, or just general fishing expeditions, and even after they eventually became deliberate at some point, how high the knowledge trail went within Russian intelligence circles are yet other questions.)

That said, national security establishment "eggs" claiming that Russian intelligence was incompetent here and there and with Guccifer 2.0 as well, when he was alleged to be a Russian agent? What if those were CIA bread crumbs instead? Not likely, but officially now not disprovable. 

Update 5, March 17: Multitudinous national Democratic politicians are admitting that, at a bare minimum, they'll not find proof Putin hacked elections, and at a maximum, there's no proof because — he didn't! At the same time, the man likely to have been named Clinton's CIA director is admitting there's nothing behind Trump-Putin collusion claims, which is the flip side of the same coin. Also per Morill, the Christopher Steele documents are bullshit, including paying informants.

Second update of this same day: Jeffery Carr reports that the Russians who allegedly hacked Yahoo were independent actors, not carrying out an official mission.

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